Blog Archives

November 11 – 17, 2020

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…a very divided nation, no police present during celebrations, congratulations Sandy Brown, Manu and selling out, Morphing the pier, goodbye Harry Stoll. GREENSITE… No Greensite this week, she’s preparing for the city council hearing on the Wharf Master Plan: back next week. KROHN…National election results, local election results, AOC quotes on Democrats and the party, review of city recall. STEINBRUNER…technical difficulties prevent Steinbruners content from description.  PATTON…A World View. EAGAN…clever, classy Deep Cover and classic Subconscious Comics. QUOTES…”EMPATHY”


SANTA CRUZ WHARVES 1914.  That’s the Cowell Wharf on the left and the Railroad Wharf on the right. According to one historic caption those are Genovese fishermen with their nets in the middle.                                                       

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE November 9 
ONE NATION VERY DIVISIBLE FOR ALL. Four years ago Trump got elected by folks who really didn’t know what he’d do as president. This year nearly half of the USA voted for him knowing full well what Trump would continue to do…we know now just how split our country is and will be in the foreseeable future. Red-necked, prejudiced, violent, evangelist, you name it we got it and we’re stuck with it. In Santa Cruz County we had 22,438 votes for Trump in 2016 and in 2020 Trump got 25,485 votes locally…just what kind of “bubble” do we call that? Trump gained 3,047 supporters here, too bad we can’t get together and figure this out.  Why hasn’t more been made of the fact that with all the celebrating crowds of the Biden Victory across  the country many have has NO POLICE PRESENT!!! Is this a step forward or what?  and are enough authorities aware of this giant change in civil obedience? 

CONGRATULATIONS SANDY BROWN. Fighting an extra brave battle Sandy Brown won another term on our City Council.  She’ll have a lot of pressure plus opposition from the Cynthia Mathews – Martine Watkins power group. The Wharf manipulation that just got voted on will be a huge prophecy for future issue decisions. Wait and see.  

MANU’S WIN ??? Watch and see if all those money and developer people don’t control what and how Manu Koenig votes. Check out exactly where he differs from Robert Singleton, Bud Colligen, Robert Bosso, Sibley Simon, and Cindy Busenhart. How and why people like Manu continue to believe that growth and development bring in tax money that will amount to more than the costs of maintaining those developments is beyond me. If development and growth were really municipally profitable then San Jose and Los Angeles would have city coffers beyond belief. 

MORPHING THE WHARF or PROSTITUTING THE PIER. By now we’ll know how this City Council voted on Disneyizing and selling out to City Manager Martin Bernal’s behind the scenes maneuvering plot to sell out our Municipal Wharf. Even more questionable is how would the new City Council vote on it ? The new winning candidates claim to represent the no growth progressive community. We know how Sandy Brown would vote but the newcomers will have some tough times figuring just who/whom they represent…watch closely.

FAREWELL HARRY STOLL. Harry Stoll died last week at the age of 91. He edited the magazine Zeitgeist and was involved in all sorts of progressive actions and activities…he’s very much missed already.

I still haven’t been to a movie theatre not even The Del Mar or the Cinemarks in Capitola and Scotts Valley. The reviews of current films read poorly, and dealing with the seating, lines, and the improving quality of what’s online hardly makes it seem worthwhile

SARAH COOPER: EVERYTHINGS FINE. Sarah is an online sensational comedienne. She pulls off her great Trump lip-synching, and is just totally fun to watch. Ben Stiller, Jon Hamm, and Marisa Tomei all get in on it. She also takes on Mr. Pillow, Melania Trump, Qanon and all in 49 minutes. We need more laughs like this. 

SECRETS OF THE SAQQARA TOMB. A straight documentary about how archeology works. It digs around a pharaoh’s tomb and will teach you much more about archeology than you thought you knew. It’s a change from what we “normally” watch.

ROGUE CITY. A genuine French (Marseilles) crooked cop movie starring Jean Reno and Claudia Cardinale. Gangs, drugs, and switching timelines make it a bit difficult to follow who is cheating who…and it’s good. 

CADAVER. On Netflix it’s Kadaver. Little girl finds a corpse hanging after a nuclear disaster. Mom’s an actress in a traveling show. It’s political, Norwegian, and expensive sets. Not the best you’ve ever seen, but if you’ve seen almost everything…try it!!

BETTER THAN US. This is a Russian attempt at a scary robot movie. It has an unbelievable 100% Rotten Tomato score, but no reviews yet!! It’s about how a family gets to hide and keep a sex robot and it’s supposed to be a serious scary movie. I thought/think it’s so funny and “campy” an attempt- that I’ve been laughing ever since. If ( a small if ) you need a laugh watch it!

THE UNDOING. (HBO) Nicole Kidman and a older looking and very serious Hugh Grant take the leads as a gorgeous psychiatrist who’s married to a kind and empathetic doctor. They have a rather plain looking daughter who has a beautiful girlfriend. Everything’s fine until a murder happens. Being HBO this takes weeks to watch and the first three episodes look good so far.

BARBARIANS. Way back in 9 AD the Romans would invade Germany, a lot. This is told from the German side of these forest battles. A big deal statue is stolen, secret romances happen so do a lot of be headings. Much war and machine stitched costumes sort of ruin the image and it won’t take your mind from the barbarians in charge of our lives today.

HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR. A young girl is hired to be a governess in this mystery based on Henry James book, “Turn Of The Screw”. She sees shadows and spirits and it stumbles along from there. Not much has been changed from any old mansion scary story. You can and should find something better elsewhere. 

WHAT DID JACK DO? This oddity created, starring and directed by David Lynch is worth about 17 minutes of your time…that’s the full length of it. Lynch plays a cigarette smoking detective interrogating a capuchin or orangutan monkey. The monkey may have committed a murder. It’s pure David Lynch nutty like Eraserhead. I didn’t like it at all, but it’s only 17 minutes. 

 DOLLY PARTON: HERE I AM. We’ll never see an off-screen minute of Dolly Parton. She’s always on and always surprising. She’s written over 3000 songs, she’s 74 years old, been married 30 years and this documentary is wonderful whether you are a fan or not.  Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin love her and talk about their friendship when they made “9 to 5”. Click on it.  

OUTPOST. Is an almost documentary made from a book about an American army  Outpost stationed in a valley surrounded by Taliban snipers in 2006. It’s all war, little background, much bloodshed, tension, perfectly edited and another way to escape the boredom and questions from sitting in our houses wearing masks.

RITA. Rita is a Danish private school teacher with two children. Her daughter is dyslexic  and her son is gay. Rita is completely fascinating you’ll never stop wondering what she’ll do or fail at next. She sleeps with almost everybody and argues with an anarchistic bravado. Watch it and her. 

BORAT: SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM. Supposedly a follow up to Sasha Baron Cohen’s earlier Borat movie. I copied some adjectives from other critics that I agree with…repugnant, filthy, incestuous, shocking, crude, cringing, appalling, harsh, repellent, menstrual and more. It also has a very strange actual scene with Rudy Giuliani and another with Tom Hanks that I’ll never figure out. Do not watch this mess.

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7. This new movie written and directed by Aaron Sorkin is a fascinating movie , a good movie BUT it simply isn’t an honest look at what happened at the trial of the Chicago 7. Characters are added, romances are hinted at and Eddie Redmayne’s role as Tom Hayden is simply off base. Senator Bill Monning sent me a critique of the movie by Rennie Davis who is/was part of the 7. Former Santa Cruz Mayor Chris Krohn sent me another political reaction from the Berkeley Barb. They agree that this movie really adds a lightness and Hollywood touches to a very important civil rights stepping stone. Watch it but be very aware. I’m also proud to tell you that on October 30, 2008 our then State Assemblyman Bill Monning (now Senator) brought Tom Hayden to my KZSC radio program Universal Grapevine. We didn’t talk about his marriage to Jane Fonda and the movie doesn’t touch it either.   

BORGEN. I started watching this series months ago, it’s one of the finest series I’ve seen. Now the world’s critics and audiences are catching up on it. Here’s what I wrote back on Feb. 5…

Borgen translates as “the castle” in Danish, and I must tell you that I’ve been totally immersed in this three season iTunes saga since my daughter Hillary found and recommended it. It’s the story of a woman who becomes the first female Prime Minister of Denmark. If you like politics and wonder what a politician’s life is like, forget any American versions and watch this instead. The show started in 2010, and from what I hear it won’t go past the third series. Forget “Veep”, “House of Cards”, “The West Wing” and the rest… Borgen is far superior. I’d give you your money back IF and etc….but it would be too much trouble, and you’ll love it too. Now there’s talk of a fourth episode to be released in 2021 with the original cast and on Netflix.

THE OLD GUARD. Charlize Theron was a big hit in Mad Max: Fury Road and she plays the same tough, unstoppable warrior in this one. A brutal, violent fantasy Theron heads a group of four immortals who travel through many centuries looking for a missing time traveler. They go through Morocco, the crusades, a crucifixion, but it’s well done and provides escape from our equally challenging times. 

LA REVOLUTION. A Netflix original this series is very realistically set in France in 1787. Love, torture, voodoo, royalty, castles and all sorts of mischief. Go for it.

YOUNG WALLENDER. Wallender is/was a very popular Swedish series started back in 2008 starring Kenneth Branagh and this new addition takes us back to Kurt Wallender’s beginnings as a police officer in his very first case. Wallender tries to stop a guy from exploding a grenade in a victim’s mouth, if that gives you any idea. I’m betting that this series will remain excellent.

CALL MY AGENT. There might be a problem in finding this one under that title on Netflix, if so try “Dix Pour Cent”. Billed as a comedy it centers on the lives of the talent agents and stars who work at a famous show biz agency in Paris. Tempers, jokes, love affairs, and much talent all get very mixed and still it’s almost riveting.

OCTOBER FEST: BEER AND BLOOD. Set in Munich, Germany in 1900 this focuses on a plot from a wealthy brewmeister to take over the stalls, stands and profits that another brewmeister has held for decades at the Octoberfest. Families get in fights, daughters fall in love with the wrong people and it’s a major film. Great acting, photography, and effects.  

THE GLORIAS. This bio-pic of Gloria Steinem is a good one. Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander and two more women/girls play her in this near dream like history of the womens’ movement and her part in it. Julie Taymor directed it and does portray Gloria as her real mini-skirt, long nails gorgeous self. Timothy Hutton is in it too nut he shouldn’t have been. It has much fantasy, dreams, animation and oddly placed moves that obscure the important view of women’s equality fights that Steinman was an integral part of. Bette Midler plays Bella Abzug. Watch it, and don’t snicker at the odd ball parts

EMILY IN PARIS. Lily Collins is Emily. Emily is from Chicago and is sent to Paris as a company rep. The Paris group doesn’t like her and Emily has a rough time adjusting to France. Cute, clever, time consuming, charming, and I imagine the series will be the same.

TEHRAN. It has a 93 on Rotten Tomatoes!! An international spy killer-thrill series. It mixes Iran, Tehran, Jordan, Israel’s internal wars with a young woman’s attempt to steal government high tech secrets. Complex, well acted, and if you can keep up with identities, you can continue forgetting about movie theatres.

THE ARTISTS WIFE. Bruce Dern and Lena Olin take on the heavy lead roles in this painfully, near true story of how parts of the Dolby Sound family dealt with the dementia and Alzheimers of old man Ray Dolby. If you’ve ever had to deal with these age old afflictions you know how deep the pain goes. 

CRIMINAL. This is an unusual series that consists of four different story lines on four different websites. There’s Criminal: United Kingdom, Criminal: Germany, Criminal: Spain and Criminal: France. All episodes were filmed in Spain and center on criminals each being questioned and interviewed in exactly the same interrogating room with a very important two-way mirror separating them from the cops and legal team. I’ve watched almost all of the four series, they are clever, well acted, puzzling in a good way and well worth your time.

THE INVISIBLE MAN. This got an amazing 91 on Rotten Tomatoes and I must admit I’m still remembering the tension, the scares, and surprising talents of Elisabeth Moss in the lead. She’s the ex-girlfriend of an optical genius who invented an invisible suit. It sort of looks like a wetsuit with knobs. So basically, he haunts her. The police don’t believe her so she takes matters into her own hands and fights him, wherever he is supposed to be. It’ll take your mind off all the stuff that’s haunting you nowadays, watch it.

THE VOW. 82 ON Rotten Tomatoes is just about what I’d give this documentary. NXIVM is the name of a self awareness, mindfulness group. It has masters and slaves and even branding women members in private places. It’s a documentary but not your average documentary. If you’ve ever belonged to or have thought about joining one like maybe Scientology don’t miss this partial opening of their secret doors. Just about one week ago (Nov.2) Keith Raniere,  the real life leader was sentenced to 120 years in prison.

CHALLENGER: THE FINAL FLIGHT. We’ve never heard much about this 1986 NASA shuttle flight disaster. This is a  four part documentary with J.J. Abrams doing the producing. The NASA flight was done for much needed social approval and a brilliant, pretty, school teacher was included among the astronauts. The Challenger blew up in less than two minutes after it was launched and all the crew perished. The film shows NASA’s faults, details all the worlds  reactions and will teach you some necessary features involved in our space programs.

RATCHED. Named and promoted as a back story to the famed Nurse Ratched played by Louise Fletcher in Jack Nicolson’s and Ken Kesey’s  “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” book.For some reason the hospital is changed from a military re hab center in Menlo Park where Kesey did time to a spacious retreat in Lucia, which is near Big Sur. Judy Davis, Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon and believe it or not, Sharon Stone are in it. It’s a gruesome movie with such scenes as a doctor hammering an ice pick into a patient’s eye or being given a severed head as a present. The lesbian sub plot is very insensitive, so is the sodomy story…don’t bother.

THE SOCIAL DILEMMA. This one hour and 20 minute documentary a Netflix original is so important, good, and timely. It focuses on the control the internet has over us now and the inevitable growth it will take as time goes by. The control goes much deeper than your searching for a toaster on Amazon and seeing toasters pop up on the next 20 screens you open. It’s about how Facebook, Twitter, Google, You Tube and many more. Are controlling how long we watch and how often we click on any site, then selling the data from our views to advertisers. They work hard to change our groups of friends to bring people with similar views together politically, religiously and change our lives in the process. My notes while watching say things like…the future and Utopia or oblivion,  causing a civil war, ruining a global economy, prioritizing what keeps us on our screen, election advertising, existential threat, can’t agree on what is truth, assault on democracy and on and on. Do see this documentary and think about it and us and yourself. … 

RAKE. I’m still enthralled with watching RAKE. It’s one of the most consistent brilliant funny, curious, serious, series I’ve ever seen. It’s a Netflix feature from Australia back in 2010. This week Netflix introduced Charlie Kaufmann’s newest movie “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”. You need warnings about Kaufmann’s films. Remember “Being John Malkovich”, “Synecdoche, New York” and especially “Eternal Sunshine of the Eternal Mind”. “I’m Thinking” is one of his impressionistic, dreamlike. Psychological adventure voyages. It’ll stay with you for days after.

LAUNDROMAT. How could a movie directed by Stephen Soderbergh and starring Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas be so bad? Don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 41! The plot focus is on tax evasion, off shore investments; insurance rip offs, and is way too complex and silly at the same time.



GREENSITE’S INSIGHT. No Greensite this week she’s preparing for the council hearing on the Wharf Master Plan: back next week.

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.


November 9

No, I will not follow the polls so closely next time either. Not local polling, which there is little to none that I am aware, but the national polling that had Jaime Harrison (45%) neck and neck with Lindsey Graham (55%) in South Carolina, Cal Cunningham (47%) up by 8-10 points over Tom Tillis (48.7%) in North Carolina, or John Cornyn (53.6%)about to lose his seat in Texas; and the one everyone thought was for sure, Susan Collins would never get to 50% and Sara Gideon, because of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in Maine, would get all of third party candidate Lisa Savage’s votes, but Collins received 51% and no RCV entered into the equation. None of these upsets happened. Instead, many are now hoping for the impossible: two Georgia upset run-off wins in January, and then Vice-President Elect, Kamala Harris would be the Senate’s deciding vote when parties vote the straight party-line. This might be an unprecedented scenario. But one thing is certain, I will not be following the national polls very closely as the Georgia vote unfurls leading up to the January 7th election.

Local Election Results
While they are still counting Santa Cruz county ballots, what seems clear is that Sandy Brown will be re-elected and Kayla Kumar has a long shot (not yet mathematically eliminated) of being elected to the Santa Cruz city council. Meanwhile, in the first district supervisor race, in a surprising turn of events it appears that Manu Koenig knocked off incumbent John Leopold by a sizeable margin, 17,346 to 13,130, but counting goes on. I have to do some digging, but with over 30,000 votes already counted this would seem to be an unprecedented number of voters weighing on a first district (mostly Live Oak area of Santa Cruz County) election. Question I have is did the district radically grow in population, or did the Koenig people work to get the vote out in what appears to be an unprecedented fashion? For daily vote totals go to

AOC Spot-on Critique of D-triple C
Wow! Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is her generation’s political gift that keeps on giving. Not only did she work hard to get out the votes in swing state districts in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, she waited no longer than a few days to perform some insightful, keen, and an all too needed autopsy of the Democratic Party’s fraught election day results and current centrist-conservative leadership. This is from an interview with Astead Herndon the New York Times, published on November 7. The following are some excerpts from the interview:

We finally have a fuller understanding of the results. What’s your macro takeaway? Well, “I think the central one is that we aren’t in a free fall to hell anymore. But whether we’re going to pick ourselves up or not is the lingering question. We paused this precipitous descent. And the question is if and how we will build ourselves back up. We know that race is a problem, and avoiding it is not going to solve any electoral issues. We have to actively disarm the potent influence of racism at the polls. But we also learned that progressive policies do not hurt candidates. Every single candidate that co-sponsored Medicare for All in a swing district kept their seat. We also know that co-sponsoring the Green New Deal was not a sinker. Mike Levin was an original co-sponsor of the legislation and he kept his seat.”

Challenging sitting Dems: “And the thing is, I’ve been unseating Democrats for two years. I have been defeating Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)-run campaigns for two years. That’s how I got to Congress. That’s how we elected Ayanna Pressley. That’s how Jamaal Bowman won. That’s how Cori Bush won. And so we know about extreme vulnerabilities in how Democrats run campaigns. Some of this is criminal. It’s malpractice. (How do you really feel AOC?!

Fossilized campaigning directed by DNC?“If you’re not door-knocking, if you’re not on the internet, if your main points of reliance are TV and mail, then you’re not running a campaign on all cylinders. I just don’t see how anyone could be making ideological claims when they didn’t run a full-fledged campaign. Our party isn’t even online, not in a real way that exhibits competence.” 

Dem Self-reflection?“But the problem is that right now, I think a lot of Dem strategy is to avoid actually working through this. Just trying to avoid poking the bear. That’s their argument with defunding police, right? To not agitate racial resentment. I don’t think that is sustainable.”

Democratic Party ObsolescenceSo I need my colleagues to understand that we are not the enemy. And that their base is not the enemy. That the Movement for Black Lives is not the enemy, that Medicare for all is not the enemy. This isn’t even just about winning an argument. It’s that if they keep going after the wrong thing, I mean, they’re just setting up their own obsolescence.”

Recalling the Recall
by Teresa Coraggio

Without a plan to take back our economy, anyone elected to the Santa Cruz City Council will be overseeing a train wreck of massive unemployment, home foreclosures, business bankruptcies, ballooning government debt, a physical and mental health crisis, closure of public agencies, and economic stagnation. That doesn’t include rebuilding homes that are facing the loss of future insurability or homeschooling students who are facing the loss of future employability. Frankly, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, much less the nice people running.

It’s enough to make a person nostalgic for the bloodthirsty fights of the last election over rent protections. Life was so much simpler when problems could be solved by removing a couple of bad apples. Oh, the drama, the intrigue on which we squandered our last few days of face-to-face contact! Perhaps now is a time to reflect on that passion play.

My career has been as a Director of Human Resources, and the fulcrum point of the recall was a highly-publicized accusation of bullying and gender discrimination against the Councilmembers. These are legal terms referring to abuses of power by a superior to a subordinate, but the accusations were made by the Mayor, now running for re-election, who set the agenda, appointed committees, spoke publicly, and gave permission for others to speak or not.

Imagine a corporate CEO who uses a press conference to blast a couple of VPs for bullying her because she’s a woman. Would HR consider the CEO or the VPs to have a valid complaint of disrespect? Imagine that the CEO presents all her evidence and fails to substantiate her proclamation of guilt. Are the VPs owed a public apology or more public humiliation? Does their HR complaint warrant investigation or should they face new charges with different lawyers? Only the latter, according to City Management.

Once loose in social media, the charge became harassment, including comparisons to child abusers and sexual predators. In a hearing, the city’s lawyer said Dru Glover meant Drug Lover. The chair of the CPVAW conflated Drew’s activism with rape, bludgeoning, assault, and escalating violence against women, then filed a legal complaint for being called a hypocrite. UCSC students were turned against Drew with inflammatory posters and a mistaken judgment that influenced the County Supervisor to speak out against him. Even a former city council candidate and landlord denounced him for leaving boxes of campaign literature in the living room at a time when his mother had terminal cancer, then implied he might have gotten violent if she hadn’t refunded his deposit on the spot.

I’m not in agreement with a pro-renter, pro-homeless platform but no one should have their reputation destroyed because of their political views. What was done to Drew Glover shouldn’t be tolerated in a middle school, much less between City Council and City Management. Empowered, the pro-developer faction is pushing three things we may never need again—a new library, high density housing, and downtown parking—at the expense of the safest venue for our most vital need—the farmer’s market. Instead of either approach, I’d like to see all policies evaluated by how they would encourage or discourage home ownership, small local landlords, and small local businesses. That’s the heart and the future of Santa Cruz, if we are to have one.

I’ve submitted a Grand Jury complaint with detailed documentation in the hope that the HR process can never again be weaponized as a political expedient. In the meantime, however, we have an election that could make or break Santa Cruz for the next decade. I won’t tell you who to vote for but I will tell you what: a willingness to work with both sides for radical solutions based on hard data, irrefutable logic, clear objectives, and agreed-upon principles. We can’t afford anything else.

Tereza Coraggio is the author of How to Dismantle an Empire &mdash and fund the green new deal. She welcomes response at

“47% of workers in Georgia make less than $15 an hour and 71% of voters in Georgia support increasing the federal minimum wage. If Democrats take back the Senate, we will increase the minimum wage from a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour to a living wage of at least $15 an hour.” (Nov. 9)
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected to the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His term ended in April of 2020.

Email Chris at

At the time of this writing, it appears that Corrie Kates and Maria Marsilio did not receive enough votes to win the two seats available on the Soquel Creek Water District Board.  That is a real shame.

Who would have ever thought that a non-partisan job on the local water board could become so ugly?  Over 20% of the Kates & Marsilio campaign yardsigns were stolen.  Half of the large campaign signs were stolen.  But by far, the most disgusting tactic was the postcard incumbents mailed the weekend before the election with damaging misinformation.  See below.

Partisan politics at it’s worst, but one would expect better of the incumbents for a non-partisan Board.  I wonder if the local Sierra Club minded that the incumbents, candidates they endorsed, nailed their large  campaign signs on living trees?  Hmmmm…..

This year marks 100 years since Congress ratified the 19 Amendment, making it illegal to deny a person to vote because of their sex.  There is a great exhibit on the First Floor of the County Building (701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz) that is an illustrated timeline of local women and actions here to fight for women’s right to vote.

One local action was the making of the 1917 silent film “Mothers of Men” about the future and women’s suffrage.  For a very limited time, the San Lorenzo Valley History Museum will be making this silent film available for the public to view:  This film was also titled “Every Woman’s Problem”.

Many thanks to local historian Ross Gibson for making this viewing known in his excellent November 9, 2020 regular Monday local history guest column in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Read it here

On November 2, Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman ruled that Governor Newsom violated the California Constitution with his Executive Order regarding elections.  See the tentative ruling in the attachment at the end of this post. (Gallagher and Kiley vs. Newsom).

The ruling states that Governor Newsom acted illegally by amending and creating new laws via his Executive Orders.  Will he pay attention to the Court order?

The Pacific Legal Foundation has also filed a lawsuit against the Governor for other overreaching Executive Orders related to COVID mandates.  See the attachment at the end of this post. (Ghost Golf vs. Newsom)

Will the Governor stop this illegal behavior?  Stay tuned.

The County Redevelopment  Successor Agency wants to sell a 3.7 acre parcel at the corner of 17th Avenue and Capitola Road in Live Oak to MidPen Housing Authority to build 57 low-income housing units on land that has just been discovered to be extremely contaminated.  Rather than stopping the project to consider if anyone should be made to live on a site where a vapor barrier is the mitigation for high levels of PCE (tetrachloroethylene), the County seems to be pushing forward by simply making the price for the land more attractive to MidPen.  Would anyone disclose anything in the future?

This is the site of the historic Merriman House, about which Bruce Bratton and I have both written here.  However, the source of the contamination plume that has also entered the groundwater is a former dry cleaning business at 1600 Capitola Road.  According to the Staff Report, the current owner does not have the financial ability to clean up the problem, so the County has agreed to do so and let the State Water Resources Control Board know that.

The County plans to somehow install a vapor barrier on this nearly 4-acre parcel and call it good.

The County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios hid the disclosure of this contamination as an attachment buried in the Consent Agenda of the November 10, 2020 Board of Supervisor meeting as Item #23.  You can read the report from Weber, Hayes & Associates in the attachment at the end of this post. The Staff Report and proposed amended agreements with MidPen are here

Why is this critical information buried in the Consent Agenda and not discussed publicly by the Board unless one of them pulls it for closer examination?

The proposed solution offered by CAO Palacios for the Board to approve is to reduce the original $3,525,000 sales price to MidPen Housing to $2,117,399 because of the contamination.  How can this be socially-just?  These low-income families would be forced to live at a location with known high levels of PCE.  The people who live and work nearby at the Live Oak Elementary School,  Live Oak Supermarket and many others may or may not know or be warned about this health risk, exacerbated by proposed construction activity.

Read this excerpt from page 2 of the Weber, Hayes & Associates report:

Confirmation Sampling of Chemical Release (Soil, Soil Vapor and Groundwater Testing)
On February 25, 2020, following notification to the CRWQCB-CCR, forty-four (44) passive soil gas samplers  were installed in a grid pattern that extended outward from the northeastern property boundary which  is the location of the former Fairway Dry Cleaners.  This preliminary site screening confirmed this former  Dry Cleaners was the source of a release of the dry cleaning solvent PCE to the subsurface.  The highest  concentrations of PCE (1,830 ug/m3 ) were detected along the property boundary at levels significantly  exceeding  risk-based  agency  threshold  limits  for  commercial  and  residential  land  uses  (i.e,  67 and  15  ug/m3 ,  respectively).   The  grid  of  shallow  passive  soil  sampling  data also  showed  that  concentrations  dropped off (attenuated) as you move westward away from the source (figure of plume footprint included  as Attachment 2). 

 Follow-up sampling of soil, soil gas, and groundwater samples: 
 a) Confirmed encroachment of dry cleaning solvent contamination from the adjoining property to  the east. And,  
b) Provided data needed for the design of a vapor barrier system for the proposed multi-use  development project. 

What are the health risks to the potential low-income housing tenants, staff and clients of the proposed Dientes Clinic and low-cost medical clinic, as well as existing families and businesses nearby?

Consider this from the Environmental Pollution Center:

What makes PCE a problematic pollutant is its resistance to degradation/biodegradation, unlike, petroleum hydrocarbons (which usually degrade fast in the environment).

Cancer Effects
PCE is reasonably anticipated carcinogen, which means that it was proven to cause tumors in mice and it has the potential to cause cancer in humans, especially when exposure to high amounts of PCE has occurred. The following type of cancers may be associated to exposure to PCE:

  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of colon-rectum
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Bladder cancer

Non-Cancer Effects
Exposure to PCE may cause a variety of health effects depending on the amount of PCE and exposure time. Such effects may include:

In chronic exposures:

  • Skin irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Menstrual problems and spontaneous abortions (in exposed women)

In acute exposures (to high amounts of PCE):

  • Central nervous system damage (for exposure to more than 100 ppm pf PCE):
    • Unconsciousness
    • Difficulty in walking and speaking
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
  • Death from respiratory depression (ingestion of more than 1,500 ppm of PCE)
  • Death (within 4 hours) – by ingestion of 2,600-4,000 ppm PCE (experiments with rats)

Please note that the data related to such exposure pollution is usually obtained through animal studies and may not be verified in humans, however the potential to cause similar problems in humans remains.

How Can You Be Exposed to PCE?
Through inhalation:

  • breathing in air contaminated with gaseous PCE:
    • indoor air from a building sitting on contaminated soil and/or groundwater
    • indoor air from a workplace where PCE is manufactured or used (e.g., in dry cleaning)
  • breathing the PCE vapors during a bath or shower with contaminated water (especially when well water and not municipal water is used)
  • wearing dry cleaned clothes soon after they are dry cleaned
  • breathing in the vicinity of a person which was recently exposed to PCE (e.g., workers) – such person may exhale PCE vapors

Through skin absorption (please note that PCE is not efficiently absorbed through the skin):

  • Playing on contaminated ground
  • Bathing in contaminated water
  • Spending time in a contaminated atmosphere
  • wearing dry cleaned clothes soon after they are dry cleaned

Through ingestion:

  • Contaminated water
  • Contaminated food
  • Accidentally ingest contaminated particles (e.g., soil)

Through breast feeding – since PCE accumulates in milk due to its lipophilic nature

Read more here

Would YOU want to live at a site with this contamination problem?  I wouldn’t.  Do you think it is right to force poor people to live there? I don’t.

Please write the Board, even though they likely will have taken action by the time you are reading this post.  It is never too late to advocate on behalf of public health and safety.

Chairman Greg Caput <>
Ryan Coonerty<>
Zach Friend<>
John Leopold<>
Bruce McPherson<>


Cheers, Becky

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes. She ran again in 2020 on a slightly bigger shoestring and got 1/3 of the votes.

Email Becky at


#314 / It’s A Worldview Thing 

November 9 

The article I discussed yesterday, from the November 1, 2020 edition of The New York Times Magazine, addressed how Donald Trump’s presidency has affected the Republican Party and its long-time supporters. That article wasn’t the only such article in that edition of the magazine.

In His Image,” by Elaina Plott, also ran in the magazine on November 1, 2020. If you can penetrate The Times’ paywall, it’s an article worth reading. Plott’s thesis – based on interviews with what might be called “grassroots” Republican Party officials, operating at the local level – is that whatever the outcome of the November 3, 2020 election (which was then in the future), “the Republican Party is now Donald Trump’s party.”

If Plott is right (and her article is persuasive), the Republican Party is no longer interested, as a party, in trying to find “conservative” approaches to the significant economic, environmental, and social challenges confronting the nation. The Republicans just want to dominate the other side, having adopted, as it were, the president’s personality characteristics as the party’s political platform:

Are you willing to go to Washington and not cabal with the other side? Because they [Republican voters] want somebody, above all, that’s going to fight the Democrats. They actually don’t really care often what you’re fighting about.”

Marc Hetherington, a political-science professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says this is where efforts to “refine” Trumpism will very likely hit a wall, as they implicitly assume that Trump’s supporters see his “aggressiveness” as a distraction from his appeal rather than a key feature of it. 

Hetherington and his colleagues are in the early stages of research that suggests Trump’s most salient contribution to the party is in many ways apolitical. They’ve found that those who agree that only fighters are successful in life, or that the best strategy is to play hardball, even if it means being unfair, tend to prefer Donald Trump, while those who agree with statements like “cooperation is the key to success” tend to prefer Mitt Romney. “It’s not a partisan thing at all,” Hetherington told me. “It’s a worldview thing. And now, there’s a constituency in the Republican Party for that (emphasis added).”

For our government to be successful in dealing with the incredible challenges we face (a global pandemic that doesn’t seem to be going away, the need radically to change our 200+ year old patterns of systematic racial injustice, the threat of nuclear war, the daunting economic and social inequality that is making it ever more difficult for ordinary working families to survive, much less prosper, and the global warming crisis that in putting human civilization in direct peril) we need to recognize that we are “all in this together.” More than merely “recognizing” this fact, we must “realize” it as an operational principle that can serve as a foundation for all we do. 

You know, that’s a “worldview thing,” too, and that is the only worldview that will allow us to survive as a free and democratic society. 

That really does make some sense. From whichever side of the political divide you come, I think it is worthwhile to consider this advice:

Keep Calm And Carry On!

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. View classic inner view ideas and thoughts with Subconscious Comics a few flips down.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Deep Cover” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.


“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”  ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison 

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.”
~George Washington Carver

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